UPDATE: Friday, November 16, 2012
Family members have identified one of the veterans killed in Thursday's train crash as Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, from Kansas.
"To come back and lose their life for our country in such a meaningless way, it's just very hard to cope with," said Connie Mertens, aunt.
Lubbers was among the four veterans killed after a train slammed into a parade float stuck on a railroad crossing in Midland,Texas. The veterans along with their spouses were on their way to a banquet in their honor.
Lubbers' wife was among the 16 people injured in the crash. She remains in the hospital.
Relatives of the 43-year-old man said he always wanted to serve his family and country. He served four tours overseas and was injured while in combat in Afghanistan.
"He wanted to protect everyone from the bad out there and wanted his kids to have the best life possible," said Lori Swindle, cousin.
Lubbers was born in Hutchinson and raised in Benton and Lenexa. He graduated in 1987 from Olathe North High School.
No funeral arrangements have been set at this time.
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Friday, November 16, 2012
Officials say four veterans were killed after a train slammed into a parade float stuck on a railroad crossing in West Texas.
Midland city spokesman Ryan Stout says 37-year-old Sgt. Maj. Gary Stouffer and 47-year-old Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident Thursday afternoon.
Stout says 34-year-old Army Sgt. Joshua Michael and 43- year-old Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers were pronounced dead later at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Stout says police on Friday confirmed the identities of those who died. Sixteen others were hurt in the crash. Four are in stable condition and one is critical. Ten others were treated and released from the hospital.